Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Forty years ago, and all I really wanted to be was Doctor Who. Sure, he was a cantankerous old git but he did get to travel around a lot, have exciting adventures in time and space, and save the Universe every Saturday tea-time. Instead, I settled for a TARDIS moneybox and a PVC Dalek playsuit.
At sour and spotty sixteen I would have given anything to have been Lois Lane. She was a feisty, independent journalist, who had loads of exciting adventures, filing her Daily Planet reports from glamorous, international locations. She also got to snog Superman every issue, and by that age, I'd sussed that snogging supermen was a pretty fun thing to do. Instead, I settled for an "A-plus" in English Composition and a grope with a Scotsman under the North Pier at Blackpool.
By the time I was twenty-six, I'd turned ever so theatrical, and wanted to morph into a Wild Boy in a Duran Duran video, having exciting eighties adventures in Rio, or some other New Romantic locale. Instead, I settled for a bit part in an Undertones video, and a Joan Armatrading pop promo, shot in a sleazy fleapit of a cinema in South London.
Nineteen-ninety-four saw my French phase, as I imagined myself as Julien Sorel, Stendahl's dashing anti-hero in Le Rouge et le Noir, beguilingly Gallic as he cold-heartedly charmed the haute bourgeoisie on his exciting adventures through the upper echelons of Napoleonic society, obeying no man's laws but his own. Instead I settled for caring too much, living in Brixton before it got trendy, and paying my council tax on time exactly like I was told to.
And now look at what I've just gone and done. I've just gone and turned forty-six, that's what. And I've run out of fictional characters to imitate. It looks like from now on, my dears, I'm just going to have to learn to settle for Real Life instead.